A few months back Tracers and Brillo headed
out to see The Deathray
Davies on a night when i was stuck in lab. When i later
asked how the show went, Tracers told me, "You would really
have liked the opening band. In fact, i got you a copy of their
And now i am sorely disappointed that i missed French Toast
in concert. This is the kind of pop-punk that i like, as opposed
to the syrupy sweet stuff Malimus
listens to. That is to say, this is music built out of complex
drumming, power chords, and heartfelt lyrics, all performed
with an eye towards making you bounce along.
So who are these people? Well, French Toast is a duo consisting
of James Canty and Jerry Busher. You might remember James Canty
from such bands as Nation of Ulysses and The Make Up. Jerry
Busher played on Fugazi's latest long player, The
Argument. A good lineage in DC punk.
They live up to their roots. There is some amazing guitarwork
here, and some great drumming. I am very impressed with Busher's
drumming after hearing this EP.
There are only 6 tunes, and all of them are quite good.
The opener is Breakfast, with Canty wailing "This is
what i had for breakfast" over unstoppable drumming and power
chords that stay crunchy even in milk.
They follow this up with In Veins, a short song with
a great, fast guitar melody reminiscent of the early work of
The Wedding Present. Canty sings here through some slight echo
effect, which gives the song a vague post-punk feel. Like early
Jean-Paul Sartre Experience, or perhaps similar in nature (but
not execution) to contemporary critical darlings Interpol.
Good stuff at any rate.
Then Frech Toast mix it up a bit, starting track 3, Skull-head
with a long meandering math rock intro. In fact, this song in
general is math rockish, only with distorted vocals. Complex
rhythms and old school Iggy Pop singing makes a great combination.
The next track, Bug vs. Man is a three minute instrumental,
in which Busher really cuts loose and Canty plays trebly arpeggios.
Very nice, and very post-punk.
This is followed with a short electronic ambient experiment
that they call In Memory. Strange distorted sounds float
over Star Trek like synth tones and a wavering drone. It's slightly
eerie, and somewhat odd given the other stuff on this EP. However,
it really works as a sort of transition.
The final track is called Where Did You Go? and it is
a simply glorious tune. It starts slowly and rhythmically, building
and building until it pops in a flurry of guitars, drumming,
and vocals. Excellent.
I am very impressed with this release. Sure, the general sounds
are things you have heard before (especially if you survived
the 80's), but it is all well done. Simple song construction
plus competent follow through equals a good listen. So, if you
are into the current Post-Punk Revival (and by god you should
be), then rush out and try and find a copy of this. That might
be somewhat hard, seeing as this is the first release from Arrest
Records. Apparently this is their label, but there is no information
on this label on the web (go ahead and Google
"Arrest Records" -- i dare ya!) However, given their close ties
with Fugazi, this album is distributed by Dischord. Which means
at the very least you can order it from their
Overall, this is a great debut, and i hope to see more from
French Toast sometime soon. And if they come on tour, i will
definitely weasel my way out of class to go.